Barcelona's Piqué on Griezmann, Messi and his Anfield nightmare
Gerard Piqué spoke to El País ahead of the possibility of picking up a domestic double this season, and what happened against Liverpool.
Barcelona center-back Gerard Piqué was interviewed by Spanish broadsheet El País ahead of Saturday's Copa del Rey final against Valencia at the Benito Villamarín stadium in Seville. During the conversation, the defender was asked, among other things, about his team's recent experience at Anfield as well as the potential arrival of Antoine Griezmann.
Nightmare at Anfield
Taking a 3-0 lead from the first leg to the famous home of Liverpool FC, few people saw what was to transpire, as The Reds stormed to a 4-0 victory, one that secured their place in the Champions League final against Tottenham on 1 June in Madrid. Piqué revealed that memories of the previous year's collapse against Roma didn't take long to appear.
"With the first goal coming so early, unconsciously you could envisage what happened against Roma. Then two more arrived quickly, and it looked too similar to what had happened a year before.
"It was clearly a mental block, but we didn't play our football either. We lacked everything. And they [Liverpool] pressed very high, they were very intense, and Anfield also played its role...
"We were incapable. Sometimes it happens. It was a really tough day. It has been difficult to recover emotionally because as the days have passed we have not been able to forget the defeat. It is a collapse that will linger for some time. But you have to keep moving forward."
Dominating Real Madrid
Despite the disappointment in the Champions League, Barça retained their domestic crown and finished a record 19 points ahead of their biggest rivals, Real Madrid. The captain was asked about the challenge from the capital club.
"When one of the two sides [Barça or Madrid], for whatever reasons, is not at the top level, it gives the other one many more options. We have been very consistent and solid in our results.
"I suppose that Cristiano Ronaldo's departure had an influence because football can be seen in many ways, and one is by statistics. You need players that can get you goals across the year, an area that they have been weak."
With Los Blancos' talisman over the last decade gone, attention turned to the eventual farewell of Barça superstar Lionel Messi, soon to turn 32.
"When Leo leaves we will feel it, for sure. But it all depends on how the club adapts to that change and how long it wants to lament his departure."
One of the ways the Catalan club is looking to adapt is by bringing in younger stars with much noise currently around Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann coming in this summer. Piqué was asked if there will be another documentary like the one he arranged last summer, which eventually led to the Frenchman choosing to stay in the capital.
"No, I'll not. That was enough. I have not talked to him [Griezmann] in a while and we'll see what happens."